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#WomenInForestry Q&A series highlights changing forest sector

Get to know women in forestry who are helping bring about a shift in industry culture.

March 6, 2023  By  Maria Church

Each year before International Women’s Day our forestry team shares the stories of incredible women in the industry from across Canada with the goal of highlighting challenges, progress and inspiration.

Year after year I’m amazed at how rapidly things are changing compared to when we started. These voices are more and more optimistic about what the future holds for inclusion in the forest sector.

Below is this year’s collection of Q&As. Give them a read, and join us tomorrow for our third annual Women in Forestry Virtual Summit.



‘Challenge yourself’: Q&A with plant manager Hanen Abd
Hanen Abd is a successful chemical technologist, a thriving plant manager, and a devoted mother who loves challenges. READ MORE

Unboxing learning opportunities: Q&A with Kruger’s Paula Allen
Paula Allen entered the pulp and paper industry in pursuit of new opportunities. Her quest to learn more and more about Kruger and the packaging industry sparks her enthusiasm afresh every day. READ MORE

President’s view: Q&A with Fibreco’s Megan Owen-Evans
Megan Owen-Evans, president of B.C.-owned Fibreco Export Inc., one of the largest wood biomass handling terminals in the world, is helping bring more diversity to the Vancouver waterfront. READ MORE

Home in forestry: Q&A with mill manager Natalie Peace
Natalie Peace, mill manager with Weyerhaeuser Edson OSB in Alberta, discusses the changes she has seen in the mill over the last 20 years and the power there is in having diversity in the workplace. READ MORE

‘Go for it!’: Q&A with tradeswoman Lana Love
One message that Lana Love would like to highlight for women is that gender-based views of what a woman’s career should be shouldn’t stop one from pursuing a career in the forest industry. READ MORE

Immersed in forestry: Q&A with Lemare Group’s Ann-Marie Baron
Ann-Marie Baron is the occupational health and safety and labour relations manager at Lemare Group, a privately owned harvesting, road building, log brokerage and civil works company based on Vancouver Island. READ MORE

‘Raise your voice’: Q&A with Prof. Peggy Smith
In her many years of experience in the industry, professor Peggy Smith has raised her voice to make a huge difference and is encouraging women to do the same. READ MORE

Team player: Q&A with Jessica Kruger’s Charland Labonté
Since Jessica Charland Labonté’s chance entry into the industry, she has taken up numerous challenges along the way and delivered the required results. READ MORE

Ardent advocate: Q&A with silviculture supervisor Olivia Blizzard
A chance decision to join a forestry program in university led Olivia Blizzard – silviculture supervisor with J.D. Irving’s woodlands division in New Brunswick – to become a passionate advocate for sustainable forestry practices and bringing in more women to the industry. READ MORE

Sustainable career: Q&A with Shaw Renewables’ Julie Griffiths
The right team and flexibility to find the right home-work balance were essential factors for Julie Griffiths to settle into her career with Nova Scotia wood pellet producer Shaw Renewables. READ MORE

Winning contributions: Q&A with forest sustainability director Wendy Crosina
Wendy Crosina is the director of forest sustainability at Weyerhaeuser Canadian Timberlands, and is also a recent recipient of the Forest Products Association of Canada’s Women in Forestry award. READ MORE

Quest for improvement: Q&A with Sarah Stockley, environmental specialist at Mercer
As an environmental specialist, Sarah Stockley’s focus is on keeping up with industry standards and requirements. She is on a quest to continuously improve environment and sustainability practices at Mercer Peace River Pulp. READ MORE

Celebrating women: Q&A with Tolko Industries’ Janis Simpkins
Janis Simpkins, the vice-president of Indigenous and government relations and Sustainability with Tolko Industries talks sustainability, Indigenous partnerships, and women in leadership. READ MORE.

Focusing on ‘IDEA’: Q&A with forester Julie Dinsdale
For Julie Dinsdale – a registered professional forester and is the B.C. Indigenous relations lead for West Fraser – focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) is a great idea. READ MORE

‘Sasquatch’ logger: Q&A with Janessa Nelson-Smith
Janessa Nelson-Smith grew up in a logging family, married into a logging family and has now joined a growing group of women making their careers in forestry. READ MORE

Sparking passion: Q&A with forestry student Aly Brooks
Aly Brooks, a second-year forest technology student from NAIT, says her passion for being outdoors drove her decision to join the forestry course. READ MORE

‘Take the front row!’: Q&A with SFI’s Kathy Abusow
Kathy Abusow is a renowned leader in the forest industry who is encouraging women to take the front row and help each other to succeed. READ MORE

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